MPs from seven parties unite to begin electoral reform campaign

Big Ben, Westminster

MPs and activists will seek to jump-start the campaign for proportional representation with a conference in London on Monday intended to mobilise support for electoral reform.

Speakers from seven parties will address the event, which will highlight polling evidence apparently showing support for PR at an all-time high.

Campaigners believe the 2015 general election result, which saw Ukip get just one MP despite getting 3.8m votes, while the SNP secured 56 seats with just 1.5m votes, has made the case for voting reform stronger than ever. But they face an uphill struggle in light of the alternative vote referendum result in 2011, which was a big setback for the cause of electoral reform.

Five parties are formally committed to some form of PR: the Liberal Democrats, Ukip, the SNP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru.

Monday’s conference, which is being organised by the Make Votes Matter campaign, will be addressed by representatives of those five parties, as well as the Labour MPs Stephen Kinnock, Chuka Umunna and Jonathan Reynolds, and the Conservative activist John Strafford, vice chair of Conservative Action for Electoral Reform.

Umunna said: “Our democracy is in crisis and our national institutions seen as increasingly remote.

“We have to accept reality – two-party politics in the conventional sense is over and the British people simply won’t continue to put up with an electoral system which is so unfair, disenfranchises millions and distorts political debate.”

Make Votes Matter say a poll published last year showed 74% of people backing the principle of votes being translated proportionally into seats.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Andrew Sparrow, for The Guardian on Monday 8th February 2016 00.01 Europe/London

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